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We Like to Move In, Move In: University's Move-In a vital part of starting year right

Creighton Welcome Week leaders help move a fellow student into Deglman Hall Friday afternoon.Before the first day of classes, before the first paper, before midterms — there’s Move-In.

And at Creighton University, the unofficial kickoff to the school year — one of several initiations to campus during Welcome Week’s parade of events — brings out a special, practical application of Creighton’s highest values.

After all, what better way to show you’re a man or a woman for and with others than lugging one of your newest fellow students’ belongings up a few floors in Kiewit Hall? Or welcoming someone to Swanson with hearty cheers and a dance routine?

Through a deluge Friday evening and picking up again with the first rays of sunlight Saturday, nearly 100 Creighton upperclassmen did just that as part of the Welcome Week leadership team, some of the first faces to greet new and returning students at the advent of the academic year.

For the past week, the Welcome Week leadership team, broken into student groups of beadles and guides, has been training to go into action on the well-oiled machine that is Move-In. They’ve studied the logistics and learned the psychology involved in putting people at ease. They’ve moved and grooved and opened up their vocal registers.

“It’s what we’ve been waiting for,” said sophomore and Welcome Week guide Ali Cunningham. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been a lot of fun, too. Now, we go.”

At each of Creighton’s residence halls, beadles and guides were strategically placed to meet incoming loads of students, their families and their stuff. More than that, they were there to provide a welcoming hand and, in some cases, a robust song and dance — anything to put the joy in an event that can sometimes stir mixed emotions.

“It’s so important,” said Torrey Schenewerk, a sophomore Welcome Week beadle who all but levitated between floors on Kiewit as she danced and sang while loading and hauling boxes, bedding and books with verve. “People see Move-In as a big, huge, stressful deal, especially as freshmen. We try to alleviate that, try to make it fun and keep things moving. It gives them a chance to get to see, from the beginning, what kind of place Creighton is.”

Several dozen times Saturday, Schenewerk and Cunningham, along with another 25 of their cohort, found themselves wedged into elevators and staircases in Kiewit Hall as they unpacked cars lining up in front of the residence hall.

They greeted frosh and new parents alike with ready smiles. They reworked lyrics to popular songs to reflect the excitement of Move-In. When a U-Haul trailer showed up, a happy chant rose through the ranks as if it was the arrival of a star athlete on the court: Welcome Week leaders cheer the arrival of another car to unload in Deglman Circle.“U-Haul! U-Haul!! U-HAUL!!!”

“We were on that side of it last year,” Cunningham said. “We remember what it was like to ride up and realize that this was it, I’m at college. We want to be the first face they see and provide some reassurance that this is the fun part. They can relax. They’re right where they belong.”

Strolling the Skinner Mall Saturday morning after moving in Friday just ahead of a drenching summer storm, incoming freshman Keeley Sherman and her mother, Cheryl, marveled at the thrumming hive all across campus.

“I am so excited to be here, so excited that I found Creighton,” said Keeley Sherman, a tall stack of books tucked under one arm. “I know I’ll miss my mom and dad, I know I’ll miss my cat. I’ll miss home, no doubt in my mind. And there’s still some chaotic feeling. But I know Creighton is where I’m meant to be. From the very beginning, when I applied and got phone calls from people in the Admissions Office, I knew Creighton was going to be a friendly place, an open place. Being here to see what’s happening on Move-In has just solidified that.”

Cheryl Sherman agreed.

“It means a lot to a mom when you see the wonderful things that are happening here today,” she said, smiling through welling eyes. “It’s emotional for all of us, as parents. But those kids who came out to greet us and ran through the rain, cheering and singing and dancing, it’s something I’ll never forget. And I can leave here knowing that they’re going to take care of my daughter.”

That feeling reverberates with each Move-In, said Tanya Winegard, Ph.D., vice provost for student life.

The work of the Welcome Week leaders, Winegard said, leaves an indelible impression on students and parents, both in the immediate moment of transition and in thinking about the years to come at Creighton.

Welcome Week leaders move bins and luggage into Deglman Hall during Move-In 2016, Aug. 19.“There’s a mix of sadness and joy,” Winegard said. “But within seconds of pulling up here, I think it becomes clear to parents that they know they’ve done their job and they are leaving their students here ready to face the next phase. That comes through most strongly in the confidence that shines through in these student-leaders who are helping move in. A year ago, they were on the other side and now, here they are leading, stepping up to be of service.”

Back at Kiewit Hall, the Welcome Week leaders kept up the blur of action. A new line of cars came filing in — plates from Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, Texas. Conversations started, hatchbacks opened, boxes went moving along a line.

“Everything goes!” someone sang out. A pair of students pirouetted a large bin, overflowing with hanging clothes and suitcases, toward the door. Schenewerk and Cunningham had blended right back into the fray.

“This is just the beginning,” Schenewerk said. “We let the new students coming know that this is fun, but the best part is yet to come.”

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